Camino del Norte 1/4 - From San Sebastian to Bilbao

This first section of the Camino del Norte takes you from the city of San Sebastian to the city of Bilbao.  San Sabastian makes a wonderful starting point for the Camino del Norte. Located on the Bay of Biscay in the mountainous Basque Country, San Sebastian is known for its beaches and waterfront promenade.  Here you can enjoy world-renowned cuisine as well as the more informal dining experience of Pinxto’s and wine pairings.

San Sebastian Beach
Coastal & hilly Basque Country
sry 8 days
sry 7 nights
sry 120.0km
sry
sry
Jan
Feb
Mar
Apr
May
Jun
Jul
Aug
Sep
Oct
Nov
Dec
Get Itinerary
From
€760
FREE CO 2 This trip creates 0.2175 tonne(s) of CO2, we offset it for free

Trip Highlights

San Sebastian

San Sebastian is a great place to start your Camino. From the rolling green hillsides that surround the city to the golden beaches that frame the coastline you can experience, city life, beach life and country life all within a short distance of each other. Elegant architecture sits well alongside the reputation San Sebastian is gaining world wide as a destination for a wonderful culinary experience.

Deba

Deba is your last coastal town for the next few days until you reach Bilbao. This quaint seaside town traditionally relied on whaling and trade via the sea but nowadays it focuses on its tourism offering. Here you will find the National Monument of the Church of Santa Maria, one of the finest churches in the region. From the 16th century this church is a prime example of the Basque Gothic style.

Gernika

Rich in Basque heritage many will know the name of this town from the famous painting by Pablo Picasso. The town was almost completely destroyed in 1937 when it was bombed bu Italian and German forces support General Franco. The town however in true Basque fashion didn’t let this be its end, with the survival of the Biscayan Assembly and the Guernica Tree the town rebuilt itself. Here you can learn more about the Basque culture and how it is preserved today. Every Monday there is a market held that is one of the best in the Basque so if you are here on Monday be sure to peruse the market for some local treats.

Itinerary

Day 1

San Sebastian
(Arrival)

Once you arrive you’ll be booked into a hotel in the heart of the town. The rooms are en-suite.

Day 2
26km

San Sebastian
to
Getaria

Leaving San Sebastian and the unspoiled Bay of Biscay, this route curves along the coastline through grassy fields and rolling hills. First, you’ll see the Church of San Martin de Tours, a lovingly resorted national monument, before passing through some traditional whaling towns. Later, you arrive in the picturesque village of Getaria, perched on a rocky headland above a cute harbour.

Day 3
17km

Getaria
to
Deba

For Day 3 you’ll set out on a small country road hugging the coast, eventually arriving in Zarautz. From there, take the small footpath into farmlands until you reach the Church of Santa Maria la Real and birthplace of explorer Juan Sebastian Elcano, the first man to circumnavigate the earth back in the 16th Century. Once you’ve stopped to admire the town, continue along the coast to the last stop – the stunning beach town, Deba.

Day 4
20km

Deba
to
Markina

Today, we leave the sea behind for more mountainous landscapes and won’t see the coast again until Bilbao. The route crosses a river and starts climbing into dense scrub, until it reaches the Hermitage of El Calvario. From here, keep to the narrow footpath (GR-121), which passes through many hamlets. Finally, the trail descends steeply into Markina, a village with strong Basque traditions.

Day 5
24km

Markina
to
Gernika

Leaving Markina, the route follows an ancient cobbled road and crosses the river in Bolivar (28 km). It ascends to the 15th Century Monastery of Cenarruza, which contains a Gothic Renaissance church and medieval cloister. Leaving the monastic site, the path moves into dense woodland, up to Gontzegarai, and down to Gerikaitz. At the Hermitage of Santiago, a steep footpath leads downhill to a creek and finally to Gernika.

Day 6
20km

Gernika
to
Lezama

Setting out this morning you’ll leave Gernika by the hermitage of Santa Luzia Zallo. Shortly after, we’ll reach the road (PR-173) that will take us to Morga. Here, we leave the farmland and enter a forest, following a steep descent to the traditional villages of Goikoletxea, Larrabetzu, and finally, Lezama.

Day 7
11km

Lezama
to
Bilbao

This is a relatively short stage through pastoral farmland. First, we pass Zamudio and the Roman Church of San Maarten, where the Tower of Malpica is visible above. Slowly climbing to reach the summit of Mount Avril, we’re rewarded with spectacular views of Bilbao and the valley below. On arrival in the suburbs of Bilbao, don’t forget to visit the beautiful Basilica of Our Lady of Bego, as well as Place de Unamuno, in the old quarter of Bilbao.

Day 8

Bilbao

After breakfast we bid you farewell.

Section 1

San Sebastian
to
Getaria

Once you arrive you’ll be booked into a hotel in the heart of the town. The rooms are en-suite.

Section 2

Getaria
to
Deba

Leaving San Sebastian and the unspoiled Bay of Biscay, this route curves along the coastline through grassy fields and rolling hills. First, you’ll see the Church of San Martin de Tours, a lovingly resorted national monument, before passing through some traditional whaling towns. Later, you arrive in the picturesque village of Getaria, perched on a rocky headland above a cute harbour.

Section 3

Deba
to
Markina

For Day 3 you’ll set out on a small country road hugging the coast, eventually arriving in Zarautz. From there, take the small footpath into farmlands until you reach the Church of Santa Maria la Real and birthplace of explorer Juan Sebastian Elcano, the first man to circumnavigate the earth back in the 16th Century. Once you’ve stopped to admire the town, continue along the coast to the last stop – the stunning beach town, Deba.

Section 4

Markina
to
Gernika

Today, we leave the sea behind for more mountainous landscapes and won’t see the coast again until Bilbao. The route crosses a river and starts climbing into dense scrub, until it reaches the Hermitage of El Calvario. From here, keep to the narrow footpath (GR-121), which passes through many hamlets. Finally, the trail descends steeply into Markina, a village with strong Basque traditions.

Section 5

Gernika
to
Lezama

Leaving Markina, the route follows an ancient cobbled road and crosses the river in Bolivar (28 km). It ascends to the 15th Century Monastery of Cenarruza, which contains a Gothic Renaissance church and medieval cloister. Leaving the monastic site, the path moves into dense woodland, up to Gontzegarai, and down to Gerikaitz. At the Hermitage of Santiago, a steep footpath leads downhill to a creek and finally to Gernika.

Section 6

Lezama
to
Bilbao

Setting out this morning you’ll leave Gernika by the hermitage of Santa Luzia Zallo. Shortly after, we’ll reach the road (PR-173) that will take us to Morga. Here, we leave the farmland and enter a forest, following a steep descent to the traditional villages of Goikoletxea, Larrabetzu, and finally, Lezama.

Camino del Norte map

Fly in Icon

Fly In

Option 1 – Bilbao
Bilbao airport with Aerlingus, Easyjet or British Airways (can book return flights).

Option 2 – Biarritz
Biarritz Airport with airlines – Ryanair, EasyJet or British Airways.

Option 3 – Santander
Santander airport with Ryanair offer flights from London Stansted and now Dublin, Frankfurt, Milan and Rome as well as Reus and Madrid in Spain.

Iberia offers a good selection of internal flights from Alicante, Barcelona, Gran Canaria, Malaga, Palma de Mallorca, Seville and Valencia.



Getting Home Icon

Starting Point

1 – From Bilbao airport. Bus to San Sebastian (takes 1hr15), several buses a day

2 – From Biarritz. Train to Handaye (45mins), several trains a day. Then bus to San Sebastian (45mins), several buses a day

3 – From Santander. Bus to Bilbao 1hr, several buses a day. Then take a bus to San Sebastian (1hr15), several buses a day



Getting Home Icon

Getting Home

Option 1 – Bilbao

Option 2 – Santander
Bus to Santander (1hr), several buses a day



Our Great Service

Included

  • Great mix of comfortable stay in 2-3* hotels or equivalent
  • Bed & Breakfast
  • Luggage transfers from hotel to hotel
  • Dinner
  • 24/7 Customer Service
  • Our Holiday/ Pilgrim Pack

Add on

  • Premium Accommodation
  • Airport Pick-up
  • Additional Night
  • Day Tours Available

Not Included

  • Flights/train
  • Insurance
  • Drinks/Lunch

“From start to finish, Follow the Camino organised our trip with great attention to detail, which left us with more time to enjoy our adventure... they’re the ultimate professionals! ” Read more.
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Ann Tracey, Fundraiser & Co-ordinator at Gary Kelly Cancer Support – Ireland.

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Tim Begbie – Australia

“Follow The Camino did a fantastic job organising our fundraising trip to the Camino de Santiago. The organisation was of excellent quality and all of our 28 travellers had a great time...” Read more.
Frances Black, Senator & CEO of The Rise Foundation – Ireland

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Jamie and Flo McIvor – UK

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We LOVED our trip!” Read more.
Georgia Meckes – USA

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